Uptake of self-management education programmes for people with type 2 diabetes in primary care through the embedding package: a cluster randomised control trial and ethnographic study

Melanie J Davies*, Danielle H Bodicoat, Alan Brennan, Simon Dixon, Helen Eborall, Agnieszka Glab, Laura J Gray, Michelle Hadjiconstantinou, Lisa Huddlestone, Nicky Hudson, Anju Keetharuth, Kamlesh Khunti, Graham Martin, Alison Northern, Rebecca Pritchard, Sally Schreder, Jane Speight, Jackie Sturt, Jessica Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Self-management education programmes are cost-effective in helping people with type 2 diabetes manage their diabetes, but referral and attendance rates are low. This study reports on the effectiveness of the Embedding Package, a programme designed to increase type 2 diabetes self-management programme attendance in primary care.

METHODS: Using a cluster randomised design, 66 practices were randomised to: (1) a wait-list group that provided usual care for nine months before receiving the Embedding Package for nine months, or (2) an immediate group that received the Embedding Package for 18 months. 'Embedders' supported practices and self-management programme providers to embed programme referral into routine practice, and an online 'toolkit' contained embedding support resources. Patient-level HbA1c (primary outcome), programme referral and attendance data, and clinical data from 92,977 patients with type 2 diabetes were collected at baseline (months - 3-0), step one (months 1-9), step 2 (months 10-18), and 12 months post-intervention. An integrated ethnographic study including observations, interviews, and document analysis was conducted using interpretive thematic analysis and Normalisation Process Theory.

RESULTS: No significant difference was found in HbA1c between intervention and control conditions (adjusted mean difference [95% confidence interval]: -0.10 [-0.38, 0.18] mmol/mol; -0.01 [-0.03, 0.02] %). Statistically but not clinically significantly lower levels of HbA1c were found in people of ethnic minority groups compared with non-ethnic minority groups during the intervention condition (-0.64 [-1.08, -0.20] mmol/mol; -0.06% [-0.10, -0.02], p = 0.004), but not greater self-management programme attendance. Twelve months post-intervention data showed statistically but not clinically significantly lower HbA1c (-0.56 [95% confidence interval: -0.71, -0.42] mmol/mol; -0.05 [-0.06, -0.04] %; p < 0.001), and higher self-management programme attendance (adjusted odds ratio: 1.13; 95% confidence interval: 1.02, 1.25; p = 0.017) during intervention conditions. Themes identified through the ethnographic study included challenges for Embedders in making and sustaining contact with practices and providers, and around practices' interactions with the toolkit.

CONCLUSIONS: Barriers to implementing the Embedding Package may have compromised its effectiveness. Statistically but not clinically significantly improved HbA1c among ethnic minority groups and in longer-term follow-up suggest that future research exploring methods of embedding diabetes self-management programmes into routine care is warranted.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN23474120, registered 05/04/2018.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Primary Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Humans
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/therapy
  • Primary Health Care
  • Male
  • Female
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Management/education
  • Patient Education as Topic/methods
  • Glycated Hemoglobin/metabolism
  • Aged
  • Anthropology, Cultural


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